Boeing Co. announced Tuesday that the roof of its new 787 jet assembly plant will be covered with solar panels and its South Carolina operation will be powered entirely with renewable energy.
South Carolina Electric & Gas will install and maintain the thin panels that will cover the space of about eight football fields atop the massive assembly building.
The panels will provide up to 2.6 megawatts of electrical power for the site — enough to power about 250 homes.
It will be the largest solar installation by generating capacity in the Southeast and the sixth-largest in the nation, the company said.“This will be a 100 percent renewable energy site and it’s the first site we have in the world that is making that commitment,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Kevin Marsh, the president of SCE&G, said the company is installing and maintaining more than 18,000 solar panels on the roof of the assembly building, an area of about 10 acres.
SCE&G, a subsidiary of Scana Corp., will supplement the solar energy with power from its system, coupled with renewable energy certificates, to meet Boeing’s energy requirements. Solar projects generate credits that are sold at auction to help utilities meet their renewable energy goals.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Boeing’s decision to use solar power will be noted nationwide.
“The fact that Boeing would lead the way is going to make it easier for other businesses in South Carolina and in the county to follow,” he said.